Please accept my congratulations on your editorial "The Guilty Men," in which you squarely placed the blame on the college presidents for the bribe-taking of basketball players (SCORECARD, May 8). The presidents permit the recruiting of hungry high school kids for a pittance. The colleges reap many thousands of dollars from the kids' activities in spectator sports and then refuse to accept responsibility for the ruin of the kids.
G. H. BOYER
I agree 100%.
JAMES C. COBLENTZ
I agree that college presidents are at fault for "yielding to the temptation of commercialized college athletics." But are we not also at fault for letting athletics get to a commercialized basis at the high school level?
Your vicious condemnation is completely unwarranted. Television networks broad-cast games—and pick only the "winningest" teams; "amateur" tennis and track bums tour the world on allowances that would make professionals happy; magazines ballyhoo the biggest, fastest and best of the athletes as the New Gods of the '60s.
These men are not guilty of anything except being caught in a situation that has been manufactured by others.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
These distinguished men are, of course, responsible for the conduct of sponsored activities. But they are educators first, and, incredible as it may seem in the somewhat limited view of a sportswriter, basketball and even sports in general may be way, way down on their list of what really matters in college. Unfortunately it takes money to educate, and healthy endowments would probably put a welcome end to overemphasis of intercollegiate sports.
PAUL A. VERMYLEN
Your accusations against the educators and Mr. Byers are probably correct as far as they go. But the basic responsibility for creating the correct moral climate is for the most part in the hands of the press.
It is the press who has created the image of the superteam, who has egged on frustrated old grads to the point where university and college education policies are based more than necessary on the athletic fortunes of the school.
In short, when you raise your hand to point a finger at someone else, three of your fingers are pointing at you.
WILLIAM F. DOWNS
Your publication has set a precedent for what should become standard operating procedure in reporting "fixing," "shaving" and like commonplaces of college athletics.
The college presidents and chancellors who are ultimately responsible for the conduct of this business should get their pictures in the papers regularly on these newsworthy occasions. The more often they break into print the more inclined they may be "to do something."
DONALD S. McCABE
YOUNG AT CARS
It isn't just the youngsters who go in for customized cars here in Minnesota (The Car Cult from Rumpsville, April 24). There are also the young at heart like Enoch (Nickie) Johnson, a 70-year-old machinist, inventor and onetime bandleader, who lives in nearby Red Wing. Nickie built the "Nickie Special," which, as this picture shows, is positively the only one of its kind in existence.
Nickie constructed his car last year using mostly parts from scrapped Dodge automobiles (some dating back to 1915). The car is low-slung (five-inch clearance), weighs 2,200 pounds and is painted a dazzling shade of yellow and trimmed with gleaming mahogany.
A letter from Herbert A. Gries Jr. criticizes you for calling Jim Lemon Bob Lemon (19TH HOLE, May 8). I used to watch this home run slugger play with Oklahoma City in the Texas League. At that time his name was Bob. When Cleveland brought him up to the big league, there was already a Bob Lemon there, and since the younger Bob also had a name Jim (James Robert Lemon), he was thereafter called Jim.
WARREN B. POOLE, M.D.
INVENTOR-BUILDER NICKIE JOHNSON SHOWS OFF EIGHT-WHEELED NICKIE SPECIAL